Pictured: George Ngan
A LOAN SHARK who preyed on desperate Filipino healthcare workers and fleeced them out of thousands of pounds has been ordered to pay back almost half a million in proceeds of crime.
George Ngan, 67 of Bedale Road, Romford, received a two-year suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to illegal money lending and money laundering offences back in March 2016.
Appearing in Snaresbrook Crown Court last Thursday (22 February) for a confiscation hearing, Ngan was ordered to pay £450,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The defendant has two months to pay the full amount or he will face four and half years in prison.
The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) brought the case against George Ngan after officers, working in partnership with London Borough of Havering Trading Standards and the Metropolitan Police Service executed a warrant at the defendant’s home address on 8 December 2015.
During a search of the defendant’s home, officers seized paperwork which indicated that George Ngan was conducting an unlicensed money lending business and had issued over 60 loans.
At a sentencing hearing, prosecutor Simon Mortimer told the court that the defendant had been running an illegal money lending business for over five years.
A financial investigation into Ngan’s illegal activities revealed that he was charging victims up to 50% interest on loans and adding penalty surcharges for late and missed payments.
The prosecution added that the loan shark would visit borrowers’ homes and take photocopies of their personal documents including wage slips, utility bills and driving licenses as form of security on the loans.
One victim was put under extreme pressure by the loan shark to sell his house to clear his £13,000 debt. In September 2015, the victim fell behind on repayments so Ngan suggested he should sell his house so the outstanding debts could be deducted from the proceeds of sale.
Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said:
“The Proceeds of Crime Act ensures that loan sharks like George Ngan are not profiting from deceitful illegal money lending activity.
“This result sends out a clear message that loan sharks who are caught flouting the law will be prosecuted and stripped of their available assets. This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in London boroughs and we will continue to work with the police and local authority to combat illegal money lending.
“If you or someone you know have been the victim of a loan shark, we urge you to get in touch on 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.uk.”
A Havering Council spokesperson, said:
“We do not tolerate such criminal behaviour in the borough and are pleased that this loan shark has been convicted. It is despicable that they were preying on our residents and we will continue to work in partnership with the IMLT to tackle loan sharks operating in Havering.
“We encourage residents who are in financial difficulties to seek advice from their local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.”
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 382 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 329 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £73.7 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 28,000 people.
To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text a report to 078600 22116
Visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject